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24 hours at Acorn Dairy

It’s safe to say there’s never a dull moment at Acorn Dairy, so with the Covid-19 pandemic putting a pause on our usual family-friendly open days, we thought we’d share an insight into exactly what happens during 24 hours on the farm.


So, what does a typical day at Acorn Dairy involve?


When you have over 550 cows to take care of, preparation is key, so a day on the farm starts bright and early at 4:30am. The team will set up the milking parlour, then the first cows are brought to the parlour for milking. While they are being milked cubicles are brushed down, fresh sawdust applied and clean bedding straw is added to the yards – all before the cows have got back into the sheds (and many of us!) have even woken up.


While they are milking the cows are fed a tailored ration, specific to the individual animal’s requirement, which changes throughout the year. Being able to do this while they are milking is an advantage of our new milking parlour.


As the saying goes, there’s no rest for the wicked, so while the cows are milked our team are busy with jobs such as bedding up and scraping down the concrete the herd stand on to make sure their feet are kept clean. Cow welfare is our highest priority – we were recognised for our efforts in last year’s Ethical Consumer Dairy Buying Guide – so the majority of our team’s jobs revolve around making sure the herd are as comfortable and well looked after as possible.


By 7:30am, the cows are milked and back in their sheds. At this point some of the farm team will stay back to wash down the milking parlour, while others turn their attention to feeding calves. Calves all receive milk, hay and fresh water. An hour later, they’ve been bedded up with fresh straw and it’s time for a brew (for the team, not the herd…)


After breakfast and we’re back in action. Our farm runs like a well-oiled machine thanks to both the farm and office teams, and between 8:30am and noon they tick off their to-do lists like pros. Trimming cows’ feet, cleaning out straw yards, delivery of silage to sheds, and cleaning calf pens are all complete before the clock even strikes 12.


After a particularly well-deserved lunch, the team are back at it. There is always silage to push up to cows and a significant amount of paperwork, applying for passports (yes, every calf has her/his own passport), and records to keep for foot trimming, and any health treatments the cows have received.


3pm rolls round and the herd’s ears prick up – feeding and milking time is about to begin! The team repeat the same process as early morning, cleaning, bedding and feeding.


By 5:30pm – over 12 hours after the team first started – we begin to wind down. After cows are bedded up on straw yards, calves are once again fed milk and water, the milking parlour is washed down and feed is pushed up, the day comes to a close around 6pm.


Later on, at about 8pm, one of our dedicated team will pop back out to check on the cows and bigger calves and push up feed (and make sure they’re not getting up to any mischief!). After that, it’s lights out, ready for a good night’s sleep before another day on the farm.


We hope to be able to welcome our customers back for open days soon, but in the meantime, keep up to date with all the latest goings-on on our Facebook. Twitter and Instagram pages.

Caroline Bell

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